Coronavirus

Fear God. Honor the President

In early March, several players on the World Series championship team the Washington Nationals—Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Kurt Suzuki, Patrick Corbin, and Daniel Hudson—played golf with President Trump at his private West Palm Beach resort after a morning workout at the team’s spring training facility. Unsurprisingly, the Nats players were pilloried by the President’s many [...]

Teaching on COVID Time

England declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939, just two days after the Nazis invaded Poland. It became a live question, with the Michaelmas term about to begin, whether universities in England should continue to carry out their essential task of learning. For at universities (and any educational institution) students learn (presumably!), and they [...]

This Isn’t Our First Plague

Christendom has seen a plague or two in its day. On more than one occasion a worse pestilence than that which we now face has plunged the West into chaos, or brought it to a grinding halt. In every extraordinary time, however, the Church has remained semper idem and has remained, at the very least, [...]

In Defense of Saint Corona

There are only two kinds of people who seem to relish a national emergency: busybodies and buzzkills. Both take it as their life’s work to prove they know better than the poor hayseed who lives next door. In the middle of March, Catholic news outlets began to report an extraordinary coincidence: not only is there [...]

Death by Identity Politics

There’s nothing like a catastrophe to show us what it is that we worship. The past few weeks have further proven that many Americans believe they can buy safety—witness the shocking stripping of basic goods from grocery stores at a level far beyond what people actually need. And in just the past few days, as [...]

Prayers and Cocktails for Coronavirus

As the coronavirus spreads across the globe and medical professionals struggle to contain it, there is one thing that the rest of us can do besides pray and use hand sanitizer: drink more. Dr. Todor Kantardzhiev, director of Bulgaria’s Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, reportedly asserted that regular drinkers of hard liquor are at [...]

Don’t Cancel Easter

Back when I was a Protestant, one of the Catholic Church’s great draws to me was its teaching that it’s actually a sin to skip formal, collective worship on Sunday. In the Episcopal Church, we were very much into the idea that you could honor the Sabbath “in your own way,” and—well, there’s only one [...]

The Masque of the Coronavirus

In shutting the world in, coronavirus has brought out the viral quality of fear. Men tend to panic when life changes overnight and moves beyond their control. Pandemonium is never as distant as a complacent, comfortable people imagine. Civilized society is not immune from collapse just because it is civilized. Ingenuity leads to dependency, and [...]

Piety in the Time of Coronavirus

The nation has been treated to an uncanny spectacle over the past few weeks. Schools and businesses closed in the face of the Wuhan flu, and public health officials urged all Americans to stay home and  practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the disease. But as anxious families braved supermarket lines to stock [...]

Wash Your Hands, and Repent

“We remind everyone,” The New Yorker announced on February 27, “that the first defense against this outbreak is vigorous handwashing and repentance.” Perhaps I should clarify that the announcement was intended facetiously—it captioned a cartoon of Vice President Mike Pence, who was widely mocked for praying with the coronavirus crisis team. But, for once, The New [...]

The Romans Have Taken the Lord (Again)

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t not know where they have laid him.” Such were the words, as recorded in the Gospel of John, of Mary Magdalene when she ran up to Simon Peter and John after she had gone to venerate the body of Jesus and found the tomb [...]

Will the Church Put Islam on Life Support?

Suppose the Muslim world were to lose faith in Islam. Suppose that Muslims ignored the Koran, stopped going to mosque and dismissed Muhammad as a blood thirsty warlord and slave trader. How would the Catholic Church respond? Would Church leaders greet the news enthusiastically, and declare their solidarity with the newly emancipated Iranians, Saudis, and [...]

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